STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- Mississippi State sat its star down,
then put pesky South Carolina away.
With Lawrence Roberts on the bench and in foul trouble, the Bulldogs rallied for a 73-65 victory over South
Carolina on Saturday night, bouncing back from a 49-point loss with
the closest of their 10 straight home wins.
"We responded with our best player on the bench," Mississippi
State coach Rick Stansbury said. "Our backs were against the wall
a little bit coming into this game, and I'm very proud of the way
Roberts had 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead five Bulldogs (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today; No. 17 AP) in
double figures, but he picked up his fourth foul with 12:12 left
and the score tied at 45.
Marcus Campbell took over, scoring five of his 11 points during
a 16-5 run that pushed Mississippi State's lead into double figures
"When Lawrence went out, we as a team just had to move on,"
The Bulldogs won their seven previous games in the Humphrey
Coliseum this season by an average of 25 points, but South Carolina
wouldn't let this one get away until late.
Everything slipped away from the Gamecocks in their best-case
scenario -- with Mississippi State's best player temporarily out of
"(When) Roberts got his fourth foul, we've got to take
advantage of his absence," South Carolina coach Dave Odom said.
"Mississippi State tightened the reins a little bit (and) made
almost no mistakes at that point."
Roberts could only watch as Campbell and Dietrich Slater keyed
the run that pushed the lead into double figures for the first
time, 60-50 with 7:11 remaining. South Carolina couldn't get closer
than six the rest of the way.
Neither team led by more than six points until the middle of the
second half, when Slater's 12-footer made it 58-50 during the
Bulldogs' game-deciding run.
Slater finished with 10 points, Campbell added 10 rebounds and
Roberts had 12 points and 10 rebounds by halftime for Mississippi
State, which has won four straight and six of seven against South
Carolina in Starkville.
"I had a couple of openings, and I did better about recognizing
them," Kelley said. "I just finished at the basket."
The Gamecocks fell to 0-5 on the road. Four of those losses came
against teams ranked at the time.
Mississippi State bounced back from a 49-point loss at No. 22
Alabama, which matched the second-worst loss in school history.
In that game, the Bulldogs didn't make a 3-pointer for the first
time in nearly four years -- mainly because top long-distance threat
Winsome Frazier was out with a broken foot -- and had lost two of
three before playing South Carolina.
"We knew still we were one of the top teams, even when we lost
to Alabama," Slater said. "But we had to show everybody else."
Against the Gamecocks, whose 3-point defense ranks among the
SEC's worst, Mississippi State got well, hitting 6-of-17 from
beyond the arc -- including 4-of-9 in the second half.
Then, they got some encouraging news -- doctors re-evaluated
Frazier and said the Bulldogs' guard might return in four weeks.
"If that's something that works out, that'll be great,"
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